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Is the news really bad for Donald Trump?
Well, mostly. But there are two main reasons why the Mar-a-Lago mess has boosted him politically.
Bad news first. The former president does not dispute that he did not return all subpoenaed documents because he says he is cooperating with investigators; Calling the Washington Post story that the nuclear secrets involved a hoax did not deny that Barack Obama had done something similar (which the National Archives, which controls all presidential records, struck down).
Throw in Trump’s claim that he classified any documents he took to Florida (John Bolton and others say he’s never heard of such a process), and that the FBI “stole” his passports (which the government denies), and there’s a lot of backlash going on. It was a very quick journey from “never happened” to “so what”.
Trump slams FBI for court-sanctioned Mar-a-Lago raid and Garland’s major mistake
And his key ally, Rudy Giuliani, has been informed that he is a target in a Georgia criminal investigation that has focused on Trump. The former US attorney testifying today knows he’s in trouble.
I know not everyone follows the messy details, and Trump’s detractors in the media and politics have gone down this road many times, rooting for this or that development or evidence to send Trump to jail. As just one example, former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weiselberg was about to turn on his former boss, he didn’t flip, and media reports say he would plead guilty but not cooperate with the Trump investigation.
As for the potential benefits of the search, the first is that Merrick Garland’s four days of silence fueled the backlash that martyred Trump. With the Republican base furious about the tactic, the 45th president seems increasingly a shoo-in for the GOP nomination as he continues to describe “assaults” and “break-ins” as legal under a court-approved warrant.
Garland, according to media reports, agonized for weeks to greenlight the search. The attorney general must know he’s allowed his opponent to control the narrative by staying mum, but unlike Trump, he’s not a street fighter.
The second reason is that it is entirely possible that Garland did not collect enough evidence to bring a criminal case. Either way they bring incrimination about record keeping; It must contain the nuclear secrets of January 6 or compromise. We have no way of knowing, but if no charges are filed, Trump will brand the whole thing as another hoax.
Now here’s the final twist. The former president told Fox News Digital the other day that America’s temperature needs to be “lowered …
“The country is in a very dangerous state. There is tremendous anger like I have never seen before … If there is anything we can do to help, I and my people are certainly willing to do it.”
I see two possibilities here. For one, Trump’s advisers convinced him that he was better off with the growing level of threats and violent incidents, such as the killing of an armed assailant at the FBI’s Cincinnati office and a man who killed himself after storming a barrier at the Capitol. Say something.
If so, Trump will do what he did after Charlottesville — after reading a toned-down statement at his team’s insistence, the president reverted to his “very good people” stance the next time he saw the press.
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Trump is likely worried about being blamed if more violence breaks out—and wants to point out this statement, even as it returns to his rhetoric about being persecuted as a Third World country.
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One thing is clear: the media is loving this return to a Trump-dominated world.
When President Biden signed major legislation last week, the cable news networks went to breaking news like “Donald Trump Defends Fifth” as soon as Biden stopped speaking.
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When the president signed the party-line climate/health care/corporate tax bill yesterday, MSNBC and Fox actually did additional segments on the law, each with guests from the administration, but CNN quickly turned to Trump melodrama. And while Fox grappled with the impact of the coordination law, MSNBC, in 20 minutes, “returned to our regularly scheduled programming”: Trump.